Monday, June 9, 2014

Reviews of Comics from Wednesday 6/4

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files- War Cry #1
Story: Jim Butcher and Mark Powers
Art: Carlos Gomez

Now, this is very exciting! The first two original Dresden Files comic series, Welcome to the Jungle and Ghoul Goblin, have been a lot of fun, but they have been set very early in the series, and so Harry Dresden, our favorite wizard for hire, has been on his own for most of them, and the stories have not been too entrenched in the series mythology, which is great for new readers, I admit. But now we're three series in, and the new mini-series, War Cry, takes place in the thick of things. Harry has been made a warden, one of the police of the wizard world, and has to lead a team of inexperienced young wardens on a mission. In the first issue, we not only get some great Dresden, but we get to spend some time with his trainees, Wild Bill, Yoshimo, and Carlos Ramirez. Carlos has had some spotlight time in the novels, but the other two are characters who have only appeared in the background, so it's nice as a fan to see them fleshed out, and it's good for the comic because if they weren't, they would so clearly scream red shirt. As the issue continues, we get to know the Venatori Umborum, a group of scholars who support the White Council of Wizards, and the Red Court of Vampires, the foes the Council is at war with. It's an exciting first issue, with lots of action and humor, a perfect reflection of what makes The Dresden Files great, and despite taking place deep in the series, it still does a good job of getting readers unfamiliar with the series up to speed. I also have to say that, since Adrian Syaf left halfway through the adaptation of the first Dresden Files novel, Storm Front, I haven't entirely felt the art on the various series. Carlos Gomez, the new artist for this series, though, is a keeper. He draws great action, creepy monsters, and a perfect Harry. So, if like me, you're already feeling withdrawal the day after you finished Skin Game, the new Dresden Files novel, or if you just want to read an exciting supernatural action comic, War Cry is worth picking up.

Scratch 9: Cat of Nine Worlds #1
Story: Rob Worley
Art: Joshua Buchanan

I wrote an advance review of the first issue of the new Scratch 9 mini-series a bit ago, but the issue has now been released, so go back, read the review, and then go and pick up the story of a cat who can summon his other eight lives on an adventure through time.

Simpsons Illustrated #11
Story: Various
Art: Various

Simpsons Illustrated is a quarterly anthology that collects some of the best of the years and years of Simpsons stories from all the Bongo Comics. Each issue is a ton of fun, and if you're new to Simpsons comics you'll read some amazing stories for the first time, and if you're an old fan, you'll get to revisit some classics. I could have written about any of these issues, but this one has two of may favorite Simpsons shorts. "Homer's America" tells the story of Homer being the chaperon on Lisa's school trip, and after Otto flees the bus, Homer takes the kids on a whirlwind tour of the country with his own.. unique spin on American history. I don't want to tell you too much about this, but some stories involve vampires and aliens, so it's history as only Homer Simpson could imagine it. The other is the hilarious "Nerds of Prey." So this is obviously an homage to DC Comics Birds of Prey, it's mostly female super hero team, and writer Ian Boothby is clearly a fan. When Bartman is kidnapped by Cat Lady Woman, Lisa must gather all the help she can to save him. After donning a red wig (from Simone's Wigs, a nod to Birds and occasional Simpsons Comics writer Gale Simone), Lisa calls for helps and receives replies from Bad Girl (Reverend Lovejoy's wild child daughter, Jessica), the Wonderful Twins (Sherri and Terri), Powersauce Girl (Rainier Wolfcastle's daughter, Greta), and the Noir Nightingale (Martin Prince, rocking the fishnets). It's a great superhero send up in Simpsons style. The issue also includes a Bart runs the Qwik-E-Mart story, a Bartman adventure, and a series of amusing two page McBain gags. If you're a fan of The Simpsons and don't usually check out the offerings from Bongo Comics, this is a great series to start with, and this issue has a lot of highlights.

Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #1
Story & Art: Art Baltazar & Franco

Aw, Yeah Titans! I am so excited that Tiny Titans has returned, I don't have words. Ok, I have to have some words, otherwise this would be a pretty lame review. Tiny Titans is the adorable all ages book by Art Baltazar and Franco that features kindergarten age Titans going on various wacky adventures. It's fun, light, and smart, filled with cute DC Universe easter eggs and sense of whimsy for older fans and a great cast for the kids. The first series ran fifty issues, a good showing for an all ages book from wither of the big two, and now it's back for a new six issue mini-series. This issue sees Brainiac 5 and Psimon shrink the Titans Treehouse down to earn a badge in the Brainiac Club, and Robin, Superboy, and Supergirl go to hunt down the missing treehouse with the help of Ace the Bat Hound and Krypto the Super Dog. The hunt leads to appearances by Swamp Thing, Solomon Grundy, and Metamorpho, while there is hijinks in the Treehouse involving Raven, Beast Boy, and Terra. I have always enjoyed the comedic relationship between Tiny Titans Beast Boy and Terra, with Beast Boy mooning over Terra, while she throws rocks at him in a way to run him off but secretly likes him in that way that little kids have. It's always exciting to see an old favorite return and still be as good as you remember it, and Tiny Titans is still as great as ever. Oh, and this week also saw the release of the second issue of Art & Franco's Dark Horse/Dynamite/Aw Yeah Comics! crossover, Captain Action Cat: The Timestream CATastrophe, which is equally joyful and fun, so you should check that one out too.

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